A new film by Kingston University academics, “OXI: An Act of Resistance,” to be screened at the London Film Festival on October 9, reveals the curious relationship between ancient Greek tragedy and the current crisis.
The film’s director, Ken McMullen, said in a recent interview: “I was affected quite strongly by things I’d seen in Greece during the early phases of austerity notably the public suicide in 2012 of retired chemist Dimitris Christoulas.” He added that he couldn’t fail to forget a demonstration in which anarchists threw Molotov cocktails at police and a television truck was set alight and destroyed.
“When the crisis really hit Greece, people I spoke to kept unconsciously coming up with lines almost identical to those in the plays,” said the director, explaining the inspiration behind “OXI: An Act of Resistance.”
The film traces Greece’s intellectual journey, from her ancient philosophers to her contemporary intellectuals, activists and political theorists. At one point in the film, former resistance fighter Manolis Glezos frames the current crisis in ancient terms: ““They have predicted it already, both the Greek philosophers and ancient Greek poetry…Sophocles said it in Antigone. Other Greeks have said it: ‘Loans turn people into slaves.’”
The film focuses on Sophocles’ Antigone and her act of resistance. McMullen notes that the Greek crisis is the beginning of something bigger. It is indicative that the film was warmly welcomed in Russia, where the audience envisioned the group Pussy Riot as Antigone and Vladimir Putin as the oppressive King Creon.